Efficient depletion of ascorbate by amino acid and protein radicals under oxidative stress

Anastasia S. Domazou, Viviane Zelenay, Willem H. Koppenol, Janusz M. Gebicki*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    Ascorbate levels decrease in organisms subjected to oxidative stress, but the responsible reactions have not been identified. Our earlier studies have shown that protein C-centered radicals react rapidly with ascorbate. In aerobes, these radicals can react with oxygen to form peroxyl radicals. To estimate the relative probabilities of the reactions of ascorbate with protein C- and O-centered radicals, we measured by pulse radiolysis the rate constants of the reactions of C-centered radicals in Gly, Ala, and Pro with O2 and of the resultant peroxyl radicals with ascorbate. Calculations based on the concentrations of ascorbate and oxygen in human tissues show that the relative probabilities of reactions of the C-centered amino acid radicals with O 2 and ascorbate vary between 1:2.6 for the pituitary gland and 1:0.02 for plasma, with intermediate ratios for other tissues. The high frequency of occurrence of Gly, Ala, and Pro in proteins and the similar reaction rate constants of their C-centered radicals with O2 and their peroxo-radicals with ascorbate suggest that our results are also valid for proteins. Thus, the formation of protein C- or O-centered radicals in vivo can account for the loss of ascorbate in organisms under oxidative stress.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1565-1573
    Number of pages9
    JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2012


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